It’s safe to say schizophrenia is a complex and confusing brain condition. It comes with a host of serious and disruptive effects, like delusions and hallucinations (which are often thought of as the hallmark symptoms), but there are some other aspects of the illness that are lesser known, but equally unusual.

“In people with schizophrenia there are subtle abnormalities in various brain functions that suggest the disturbance of communication within the brain,” says Russell Margolis, M.D., clinical director, Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “It’s a mismatch of the external world with their internal representation.” As a result, characteristics of the condition can vary wildly from person to person, Dr. Margolis says.

Here are some of the more unusual manifestations that can occur.

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Abnormal Fingerprints

Ranking in among the wilder manifestations of schizophrenia are abnormal fingerprints in some patients. “It has to do with the shape and the number of whirls and loops,” Dr. Margolis says. “Fingerprints begin to develop at the same time the brain is beginning to take shape in utero, and there’s a developmental biological link between the skin and the brain,” Dr. Margolis says.

Updated: Aug 14, 2020
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